When you look at the current Rangers roster, there are plenty of examples how the Rangers have successfully looked to the American hockey program and how the franchise has a preference for American trained players. Whether it be the drafting of Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller or Carl Hagelin, the free agent signing of Cam Talbot or the now infamous acquisition of Ryan McDonagh, the Rangers have had significant success with their recent focus on US trained players.
It goes beyond the current roster. The Rangers system currently boasts several players who have either come through the US development program or the NCAA system. Whether it be Conor Allen, Ryan Bourque or Danny Kristo already at the pro level, or prospects such as ‘Boo’ Nieves, Steve Fogarty and Brady Skjei still in college, the Rangers have continued to look toward the US system for success.
With the recent signings of Ryan Haggerty and Chris McCarthy, the Rangers have also continued to look for low risk signings out of college that cost nothing other than a contractual commitment for 2-3 years. The signing of Cam Talbot is proof that there are bargains to be found in the college system even when players don’t get drafted. The Rangers are wise to continue down this path when you factor in the draft picks recently traded away in trades aimed to address immediate roster needs.
There is no particular route or league that benefits a franchise more than the other (major junior, Europe or the American system) but it is clear the Rangers are confident in the US systems (allowing for the ‘hiccup’ that was Hugh Jessiman…) and it would be no surprise to see them continue down that path in upcoming drafts. Hopefully there will be more Derek Stepan’s and Ryan McDonagh’s than Hugh Jessiman’s.